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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dogs make a splash at city-sponsored pool party

<p>Chloe, a 23-month-old black Labrador retriever mix, gets ready to jump back into the water after fetching a tennis ball at the H. Spurgeon Cherry Pool on Saturday.</p>

Chloe, a 23-month-old black Labrador retriever mix, gets ready to jump back into the water after fetching a tennis ball at the H. Spurgeon Cherry Pool on Saturday.

Weighing about 65 pounds at the age of 23 months, it's no wonder Chloe made a big splash when she jumped into the pool water.

This was the black Labrador retriever mix's second time attending the pool party for dogs at the H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool.

Megan Bates, Chloe's owner, said she's had Chloe since the dog was six weeks old.

Bates said Chloe was a rescue dog from animal services.

"She's the best dog I've ever had," she said.

Jeff Moffitt, recreation supervisor for the city, coordinated the pool party.

Charging $3 per canine, the event featured doggy ice cream treats, 10 fresh water bowls and unlimited access to the pool for the dogs.

The party also included a craft project where owners could have their dogs' paw prints molded into plaster to take home.

Volunteers from the Alachua County Humane Society helped work the event. The city encouraged extra donations to be made to the organization, Moffitt said.

For the two years it's been held at the pool, things have run smoothly, Moffitt said.

Due to state health regulations, humans were not allowed to swim in the pool.

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To ensure safety, each dog has to have proof of immunizations before entering the water, he said. The facility also discourages dog owners from bringing aggressive dogs to the event.

Moffitt said he worried the colder weather would be an issue for the event.

He said the thermometer in the pool read at 72 degrees before the dogs arrived. Humans are not allowed to swim once the temperature drops below 72 to avoid issues with hypothermia.

After talking to dog owners, however, Moffitt said he was reassured that the dogs could handle the low temperature.

He said he thought the cooler temperature did affect some of the dogs' enthusiasm for the water.

"Had this been a warm day," Moffitt said, "every one of those dogs would've been in the pool."

Of the 33 dogs that attended, the majority opted out of swimming. Those dogs that did would jump in pool and immediately get out, choosing to run around the pool deck instead, he said.

Chloe, however, appeared to have a different mindset from the rest of the dogs. She jumped in the pool and swam laps despite the chilly water.

"She loves this so much," Bates said.

Chloe, a 23-month-old black Labrador retriever mix, gets ready to jump back into the water after fetching a tennis ball at the H. Spurgeon Cherry Pool on Saturday.

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